The Baby Boomers
There are six generations alive in the U.S. today. Assuming that for the most part the GI and Silent Generations are retired, very soon we will have four very different generations (Baby Boomers (ages 51-70), Gen Xers (ages 35-50), Millenials (ages 15-35) and the newest iGeneration (now teenagers) working side-by-side for the first time in history. That’s due, in part, to the fact that people are living and working longer. These four generations will also be customers, with very different values, experiences and styles. They will likely also partake in very different kinds of activities. This is both exciting and challenging. How can a business manage such diverse audience of customers and employees? Knowledge is key. Continue reading
Traditionalists and Conformists: The Silent Generation
There are six generations living in the U.S. today. Each spans a period of approximately 15-20 years or so. The oldest is the GI Generation (born 1901-1926). They are followed by the Silent Generation also referred to as the Conformists or Traditionalists (born 1927 – 1945). Then came the well-documented Baby Boomers (born 1946 – 1964) followed by Generation X (born 1965 – 1980) and then Generation Y also known as the Millenials (born 1981 – 2000). The most recent generation to emerge (born 2001 to the present) is being dubbed the iGeneration. They are also being referred to as Generation Z, plurals or Generation Wii. Continue reading
The GI Generation
Each generation is different from the one before. Each develops its own unique set of qualities, characteristics, and values, as well as likes and dislikes. These are greatly influenced by or in response to the political, economic and social times in which they are coming of age. It is also may stem, in part, from some innate desire to be different than one’s parents. Generation Xers are different than the Baby Boomers before them. And Millenials are different from the Gen Xers that preceded them. Certainly, the newest generation now emerging – being referred to by various monikers including iGeneration, Generation Wii, the Plurals or Generation Z – is bound to differ from past generations as they are shaped by technology and the accelerating speed of change. Continue reading
In most any business, employees are surrounded by customers, both external and internal.
The external customer is the person who uses the company’s services. For Staples, it’s the parent purchasing back-to-school supplies for the kids. For Chase Manhattan Bank, it’s the real estate magnate taking out a $20 million loan to purchase an office building. On the other hand, the internal customer is anyone within the company who works with a specific employee or relies on a specific employee to get their job done. It is the coworker who needs a clerk’s help to track down a file, or the manager who asks an employee to follow up with a customer or the two colleagues who work together to deliver a service. Regardless of whether external or internal, each employee should treat every person with whom they interact with the same respect and courtesy. Continue reading
To ‘burn bridges’ is a colloquial expression that means to destroy one’s path, connections, reputation, relationships or opportunities…. often unintentionally or carelessly. It can be personal or professional. Sometimes a bridge is burned due to an emotional response to an unexpected, negative situation. Sometimes, it is a byproduct of a contentious, unsolvable dispute. It is a behavior that might be generally thought of as imprudent, impulsive and unadvisable. Yet, people burns bridges all the time. In fact, people – across the spectrum from politics to business – seem much more willing to burn bridges. Relationships that were carefully nurtured for years are suddenly allowed to end…and end badly. Why? Continue reading
Most people would agree that pace of change is accelerating. Some would even say the pace of change has hastened to an alarming rate. News travels seemingly at the speed of light. Social media has accelerated the pace at which news hits and spreads virally across the globe. Software updates are being issued even before the kinks are worked out of the previous version. The next generation of smart phones is released scarcely before we’ve had a chance to even crack the glass on the previous device. Transportation is also getting faster with high-speed trains and supersonic jets revolutionized the time it takes to get from point A to point B. Medical advances are also being discovered more rapidly. Seemingly daily, innovations in medicines, devices and therapies are being introduced that combat the most devastating illnesses. And fashion no longer adjusts according to the seasons. New styles are popping up in magazines, programs and window displays every week. As soon as one trend gains traction, another look emerges pushing the previous one into design history. Continue reading
Attention employers everywhere (that means any organization that has people in any department, any profession, and at any level providing a service to others): What comes to mind when you think about customer service? Patience. Attentiveness. Knowledge. Positive attitude. Cheerfulness. Speed. Accuracy. Intuition. Composure. Flexibility. Yes, these soft skills are important in delivering good customer service. But they don’t top the list of the most critical customer service skills. Whether it is in working with patients, clients or customers, the most successful people are those who consistently provide clear and complete communication, are genuinely compassionate, and demonstrate real kindness. Being ‘likeable’ is also important. That’s right: Communication. Compassion. Kindness. Likeability. Continue reading
When a company owner or someone in a position of power hires and promotes family members for choice jobs, it is called nepotism. This type of favoritism is widespread and reluctantly accepted as the perks of those in positions of power. But there is another form of favoritism that is also widespread: cronyism. However, cronyism is highly resented by employees and is often forbidden by employers. Cronyism is providing friends and associates with jobs, positions of authority and special opportunities without regard to their qualifications and merit. It really is a lot like nepotism, but for those who aren’t family members, just friends of those in power. Unlike nepotism which is typically handled out in the open (i.e. father passes the helm to the son), cronyism is often handled covertly, probably because it is such a huge bone of contention. Continue reading
How Nepotism Undermines Companies
Nepotism can be found in practically every industry in the world, even in the highly competitive fields of construction, real estate and finance. Billionaire real estate tycoon Donald Trump has always given his adult children special employment opportunities. His son, Donald, Jr., age 35, is Executive Vice President of the privately-held Trump Organization. His daughter, Ivanka, age 31, also works in her father’s organization. His son Eric, age 29, is Executive Vice President of Development and Acquisitions. It is doubtful that even the most exceptionally brilliant, well-educated and hard-working 29-year-old could land an EVP position at a billion dollar organization unless he was related to the owner. In fact, Trump’s children openly admit that nepotism got them in the door, but also assert they’ve had to pull their weight after landing the job. Continue reading
Human Resources Affliction or Invaluable Talent Pipeline?
It was recently announced that 84-year-old media mogul Rupert Murdoch will be handing the leadership reigns of the 21st Century Fox / News Corp. media conglomerate to his son, James Murdoch. As part of the reorganization, Fox COO Chase Carey will step down from his role. James Murdoch got the appointment despite the 2011 revelation that News Corp’s News of the World reporters were hacking phones to get the scoop on stories. At that time, News of the World, a U.K.-based newspaper, was managed by James Murdoch, who was called before British Parliament to answer questions about the matter. News of the World closed shortly after the scandal. The debacle did not affect James Murdoch’s selection to take over leadership of the media conglomerate from his father. Continue reading